Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Blind, 48, she's realized a dream

Good Things Happening

Allen Howard

Annie McEachirn is looking forward to celebrating, with her family and a diverse group of friends, her five years of toil and resolve to earn a master's degree in social work from the University of Cincinnati.

She will not get the degree until June 12, but the celebration will take place early, on May 1.

McEachirn, 48, is legally blind. Friends, family and acquaintances are very dear to her, maybe even more so because she can't see what they look like.

"That is one of the good benefits of being blind. I don't see faces, I see their souls,'' McEachirn said.

McEachirn is the Talking Book Machine Program coordinator for the Cincinnati Association for the Blind. She distributes playback equipment for the print-disabled to listen to books.

She has a bachelor's degree in social work from Western Carolina University. She said she chose social work because of her own life experiences.

Annie McEachirn and her guide dog, Jessica, sit at their desk at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind on Tuesday.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/CRAIG RUTTLE
"I had run across so many barriers in trying to get through my life - from getting a job to getting financing - that I thought, 'Why not take my skills and help somebody else?'" she said.

McEachirn said she is about to get her master's degree because of her determination, her appreciation of her group of friends and a firm philosophy passed on to her by her late great-uncle General Lynch of Lake Lure, N.C.

"He told me to believe in myself, because if I didn't no one else would; believe in Christ; and believe in education. I have held on to that all my life,'' she said.

McEachirn, of Westwood, is a divorced mother of two grown children and has one grandchild.

Big Brother/Sister needed

Julie Dichti, development director for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Butler County, said new volunteer mentors are needed for more than 90 children awaiting a big brother or sister.

A Cowboy Ball fund-raiser is planned for April 24 at the Cox Family Farm in Jacksonburg. The ball starts at 6 p.m. and will include cowboy games, dinner from Famous Dave's Barbecue in Springdale, dancing and live music from John Bell and the Miles of Texas Band.

Deadline is April 16. For information, call 867-1227 or 424-3397.

Volunteers help Hondurans

Students and faculty from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Nursing Service helped provide health care for 20,000 people in Honduras earlier this year. Participants also learned something about the country's values and culture, said Mary Beth Vonder Meulen , a nurse in the department of family medicine.

"The people were very appreciative for what we were able to provide,'' Meulen said.

The trip was sponsored by Shoulder-to-Shoulder, a nonprofit corporation founded by Dr. Jeffery Heck, professor of family medicine. The trip was also partially funded by a scholarship from UC's global studies and affairs office.

Graduates leadership college

HARRISON - Harrison Police Capt. Jack Tremain recently graduated from the Law Enforcement Foundation's Police Executive Leadership College, one of 28 students attending the session.

The intensive three-week leadership-training program for law enforcement executives involves 105 class hours on 20 topics, 24 required readings, six research papers, five community interviews, three speeches and three team projects.

More than 1,100 Ohio law enforcement executives have attended the leadership college since its beginning in 1988.

"The Police Executive Leadership College was a very positive learning experience," Tremain said. "The training provided a strong foundation of knowledge that can be utilized now and in the future. The training will be huge benefit in my supervisory position and will help me to focus on the vision for the future of the Harrison Police Department."

A 22-year veteran of the Harrison department, Tremain was Employee of the Month in 1998, a National Exchange Club Officer of the Year in 1998 and a Thomas R. Oberschmidt Award nominee in 1998.

He has received 15 letters of commendation, 40 letters of appreciation, the Exemplary Service Award 16 times, the Exemplary Conduct Award five times, and the Merit Award.

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